By Dan Johnson
Today was the exciting day that Lord Stanley’s Cup graced the hot sunny sky of Northern Virginia at Kettler Iceplex in Arlington, VA. Oh, and it was also Caps Fan Fest.
My brother and I arrived at 8:15 AM and parked as close to the top as we could (Level 7) of the Ballston Common Garage. The line quickly formed behind us. Around 8:45 AM, the garage was closed to incoming cars due to the large line of people that then stretched all the way down to the bottom.
We didn’t see any Caps personnel until after 9. At that point they handed out tickets to individuals and groups. We were told that as long as we kept the ticket we would get a picture with the cup.
We were luckily to be in the shade of the garage for the first couple of hours. The line didn’t move very quickly as it seemed like the staff was unprepared for the massive response. Once we got to the top of the garage, the line moved faster. You got 30 seconds at most and the photographer took one picture. The great thing was that the photo could be downloaded online for free and about 15 minutes after we had our picture taken we had a digital copy of it.
Many others weren’t so luckily as has been reported. I sincerely hope the Caps organization makes it right and have additional opportunities for something many fans have been waiting 43 years for.
The staff gave out ice cold water and Mountain Dew Ice once you got out of the garage.
I will give a shout out to the Red Rockers. They braved the heat and walked up and down Ballston Common Garage keeping fans’ spirits up.
What could have been better? More staff and better communication throughout the line to see the Stanley Cup. Lots of people were unaware lining up that they wouldn’t get a picture with the cup and left hot and upset. It might of served better to have the event at another venue that could handle larger crowds. It was extremely difficult to leave the garage with so many people standing in the middle.
All in all, it was a fabulous day to see and touch the Stanley Cup that so many legends have hoisted. It was great conversing with fans young and old and hearing how they became fans. The sense of community was definitely there. Let’s hope we can do this again soon!